(Photo courtesy Legoland Florida)
The holiday season is all about building family traditions and lasting memories, and who knows more about building than Lego? Lego is not only one of the most popular toys in the world but it is also one of the most recognizable names in pop culture.
“Something that is beautiful about Lego is that it understands passion points and understands Lego provides different things for different people,” says Legoland’s Kelly Hornick. “For some it’s that quiet time, putting the sets together and hearing that clicking sound. For others it’s a place for expression and creativity, and reliving some of those memories that only Lego can tap into.”
For Lego enthusiasts in the Central Florida and Tampa Bay area, there is a Legoland theme park right in our own backyard — about equal distance from Orlando and Tampa — in Winter Haven.
If you haven’t taken the opportunity to visit, there is no better time than now as Legoland Florida prepares to celebrate the season with Holidays at Legoland from Nov. 24-Dec. 31.
“This really is the most wonderful time of the year,” Hornick says. “All the things you love about Legoland are happening — the rides, the shows, the models — with a layer of holiday fun on top.”
Legoland will feature a number of holiday-themed shows, both indoors and outdoors, that are infused with that special brand of Lego humor and magic.
“We are fortunate here at Legoland in Florida that we have really great weather in December,” Hornick says. “We don’t have to worry about seasonal closures like some of our counterparts around the world do. So we try to balance the indoor and outdoor experiences knowing that a lot of people come to visit Florida during this season specifically for the weather.”
The Very Merry Mix-up show will feature Lego Gingerbread Man helping to mix up some holiday treats and Festival of Flurries in the Lego Kingdoms area where you can experience snow — or at least Florida’s version of snow — along with singing and dancing.
One of the most anticipated holiday activities each year is getting to meet the Lego characters, all brought to life. You’ll see some of your favorite Lego Minifig characters in new holiday themes, as well as some new holiday characters for 2023 including Lego Nutcracker, Snowman and more. But there is no character that draws a bigger crowd than Lego Santa.
“Lego Santa is the rockstar every year,” Hornick says. “Everyone wants to get their picture taken with him. Families come year after year for that picture.”
At some point in-between the rides and shows, make sure to stop by the Holiday Village Postal Service, where you can write your letter to Santa and have it shipped off to the North Pole. You’ll also want to make time for rocking around the giant 30-foot Christmas Tree made entirely of Lego bricks, show off your dance moves at the Lego City Holiday Light Spectacular and sing your heart out on the Grand Carousel as holiday tunes play from the speakers.
Legoland has gone out of their way to make sure that no matter where you’re from, how you identify or who you love, you are always welcome.
“Lego is for everyone, and Lego backs that in everything it says and does, and that approach is shared with Legoland,” Hornick says. “We want to be a place for all families across all different communities. We want to connect with every kid, with every family that comes to Legoland. We want every family to feel special when they are here but also we want them to feel safe, accepted and to have fun.”
Holidays at Legoland, presented by Hallmark Channel, happens on select days from Nov. 24-Dec. 31 and is included with your park admission. Park hours for Holidays at Legoland days are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. For tickets and more information, go to Legoland.com/Florida.
This feature was originally published in Watermark’s 2023 Holiday Guide. Read it online here for an LGBTQ+ look at the holiday season in Central Florida and Tampa Bay.